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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Marine Biogeochemistry

Currently Active: 

The Marine Biogeochemistry Group is a large and active international multidisciplinary research team studying the biogeochemistry of marine systems, both in the open ocean and in shelf seas. Our research contributes at the highest level to understanding of the ocean's role in global carbon, nutrient and other chemical cycles, anthropogenic effects on ocean function, and the ocean's role as a sponge for fossil fuel carbon dioxide.

Group Overview

Marine Biogeochemistry scientists work closely with colleagues in the Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems group of the NERC Strategic Research Division. Together and with other collaborators worldwide, we conduct innovative research to address major societal issues, including the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle, geoengineering solutions to climate change and the environmental management of the oceans. The Marine Biogeochemistry group includes some 50 staff and PhD students from all around the world.

Our Specific research foci include:

  • Chemical, biological and physical controls on primary production in the surface ocean, including the effects of natural iron fertilization, mesoscale mixing and ocean acidification.
  • Plankton and microbial dynamics, and biogeochemical cycling of key elements in the ocean water column (C, Fe, N, P, Si).
  • Vertical export of materials into the ocean's interior and processes in the 'twilight zone'.
  • Long-term change in marine ecosystems in relation to climate.
  • Assessing man's impact on ocean ecosystems.
  • Modelling key processes for improved understanding and prediction of ocean biogeochemistry and productivity.

Our research is underpinned by world-class technology including novel in situ chemical and biological sensors, ocean observatories, towed undulating platforms, profiling mooring arrays, bioassay incubation facilities, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and free floating sediment traps (PELAGRA). The group works with industry, for instance in the use of 'Ships of Opportunity' for global oceanography (SNOMS). We lead and participate in many research cruises every year.


Professor Toby Tyrrell

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Facilities linked to Marine Biogeochemistry include:

Research Vessels

We have two vessels based at NOCS that are available to staff and students of Ocean and Earth Science. R.V. Callista and R.V. Bill Conway.

Coral Reef Laboratory

The Coral Reef Laboratory propagates and studies more than 40 species of cnidarians in a multi-compartment aquarium system circulating more than 4200 litres of artificial seawater.

Scanning Electron Microscope Facility

This facility provides a range of services including, secondary electron and backscattered electron imaging, automated image acquisition, qualitative and quantitative elemental spot analysis and elemental mapping.

Stable Isotope Mass-spectrometry

The SIRMS laboratory is a research and teaching facility available for use by staff and students. Stable isotopes of various materials including carbonates, organic materials, water samples are measured.


The Thermo Scientific NEPTUNE Multi-Collector (MC) ICP-MS provides high precision measurement of isotopic ratios across a wide range of elements.

Carbonate Chemistry Facility

The NERC funded facility analyses seawater samples for carbonate variable, and has state-of-the-art instrumentation. We also undertake carbonate chemistry calculations following total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon analysis, providing pCO2, pH and other carbonate chemistry variables.

Dissolved Organic Carbon and Total Dissolved Nitrogen Facility

This facility is used to analyse dissolves organic carbon and total dissolved nitrogen in seawater and freshwater samples. The NERC facility analyses seawater samples using state-of-the-art instrumentation (Shimadzu TOV V CPN-TN).


Postgraduate opportunities

PhD Project Titles

Modelling the impact of macronutrients on the eutrophication status of small estuaries
Prof Duncan Purdie, Dr Ivan Haigh (OES)

Estuarine Cycling of Oxygenated Volatile Organic Compounds (OVOCs)
Dr Joanna Dixon and Dr Rachael Beale (Plymouth Marine Laboratories) Prof Duncan Purdie (OES )

Zinc and iron bioavailability and acquisition in the subtropical ocean
Dr Maeve Lohan, Prof. Christopher Mark Moore, Dr Doug Connelly, Dr Alessandro Tagliabue (University of Liverpool), Dr. Claire Mahaffey (University of Liverpool)

Photosynthesis in a warming ocean
Dr Tom Bibby, Dr Alex J Poulton, Dr Anna Hickman, Amanda Cockshutt (Mount Allison, Canada), Doug Campbell (Mount Allison, Canada)

The molecular basis of natural phytoplankton community responses to light availability and iron limitation in the Southern Ocean
Prof. Christopher Mark Moore, Dr Tom Bibby, Maeve Lohan, Ocean & Earth Science (UoS), Prof. Phil Boyd (University of Tasmania)

How does diversity impact the role of diatoms in the Oceanic Biological Carbon Pump?
Dr Alex J Poulton, Dr Stuart Painter, Dr Tom Bibby, Prof Duncan Purdie.

The role of zooplankton in trace metal cycling and P availability in subtropical gyres
Dr Daniel Mayor, Dr Maeve Lohan, Dr Alex J Poulton, Dr Alessandro Tagliabue (Liverpool)

The Role of Microorganisms in Greenhouse Gas Captures via Fluid-Rock Interactions
Dr Phyllis Lam, Juerg Matter, Prof Damon Teagle.

Constraining the global nitrogen cycle with the nitrate dual isotopes
Dr. Mathis Hain, Dr Adrian Martin, Dr. Raffaele Bernardello (NOC, Southampton), Prof. Daniel Sigman (Princeton)

Simulating the hydrothermal alteration of the oceanic crust
Dr. Mathis Hain, Prof Damon Teagle, Lead Supervisor - Roz Coggon, Ocean & Earth Science (UoS), Richard Herrington (Natural History Museum)

Physical controls on ocean primary production
Dr Anna Hickman, Prof. Bob Marsh, Jonathan Sharples (University of Liverpool), Stephanie Dutkiewicz (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Impact of differential nutrient remineralisation on the Biological Carbon Pump
Prof. Christopher Mark Moore, Dr Alex J Poulton, Dr Adrian Martin, Prof. Samar Khatiwala (University of Oxford)







Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Eric P AchterbergProfessor
Stephanie AllenPostgraduate research student
Amani Ebraheem AlshattiPostgraduate research student
Chelsey A BakerPostgraduate research student
Michelle BarnettPostgraduate research student and Mayflower scholar
Nicholas R BatesProfessor of Ocean Biogeochemistry
Alison BaylayPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Anna BelcherPostgraduate research student
Adokiye BerepikiPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Thomas BibbyAssociate Professor in Biological Oceanography
Jack BillingePostgraduate research student
Elena BollatiPostgraduate research student
Sargent BrayResearch Scientist
Catherine BurdPostgraduate research student
Emma CavanPostgraduate research student
Jiraporn CharoenvattanapornPostgraduate research student
Matthew P CouldreyPostgraduate research student
Gemma CrippsPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Brian DickieSenior Experimental Officer
Hannah DonaldPostgraduate research student
Cynthia DumousseaudMarine Biogeochemistry Technician
Manon Tiphaine DuretPostgraduate research student
Glaucia FragosoPostgraduate research student
Claudia H FryPostgraduate research student
John GittinsMarine and Molecular Biology Experimental Officer
Martha GledhillNERC Advanced Research Fellow
Maxime M GrandResearch Fellow
Mathis HainNERC Independent Research Fellow
Philippa HayesPostgraduate research student
Stephanie HensonResearch Scientist
Anna HickmanAcademic Fellow
Matthew HumphreysResearch Fellow
Harry JacksonPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Rachael JamesProfessor of Geochemistry
Andreas JohanssonPostgraduate research student
Renata S KhouriPostgraduate research student
Phyllis LamAssociate Professor in Microbial Biogeochemistry
Jon LawrencePostgraduate research student
François-Eric LegiretSENSEnet Marie Curie Fellow
Maeve LohanAssociate Professor
Vlad A MacoveiPostgraduate research student
Kyle MayersPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Jack McNeillPostgraduate research student
C Mark MooreProfessor
Lucie MunnsPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Nicola PrattSenior Marine Biology Technician
Clare PrebblePostgraduate research student
Duncan PurdieProfessor of Biological Oceanography
Marta SkibaPostgraduate research student
Rose E StainthorpPostgraduate research student (MPhil/PhD SPITFIRE)
Peter StathamProfessor of Marine Biogeochemistry
Torben StichelResearch Fellow
Toby TyrrellProfessor in Earth System Science
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